Carbon nanotube encryption

A tale how carbon nanostructures make the world a safer place


Random numbers are critically important for a wide range of security applications. Based on them, so called encryption keys are created, which are then used for authorization of protected information. To accomplish this goal, software- or hardware-based random generators are commonly used. The former use mathematical equations, which can be replicated, whereas the former are often bulky and expensive to manufacture.

Could carbon nanotubes be the solution?

It appears so. Team of Mark Hersam at Northwestern University developed a solution based on semiconducting carbon nanotube ink. They used it to print a circuit, which generates random numbers from thermal noise. The approach is scalable and, due to flexible properties of carbon nanotubes and their light-weight nature, such random number generators could be used to protect future mobile electronics.

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